Wing Chun. Your dad knows about it, your boss knows about it and you’ve even caught your grandma chain punching in front of the mirror.
Donnie Yen’s now infamous portrayal of Ip Man has not only made a household name of the legendary Grandmaster but it has thrust this particular close combat martial art into the collective consciousness.
Wing Chun is the martial art of the moment, reshaping the aesthetic of modern kung fu cinema with its lightning fast blows and stylish exchanges.
With a third “Ip Man” film allegedly on the way – this time in 3D – it is safe to say that Wing Chun films are going nowhere. Never a week passes without the announcement of a new prequel, sequel or television show featuring either Ip Man or his martial art of choice.
Heck, even Nicholas Cage had a sticky hands training sequence in the 2008 dud, “Bangkok Dangerous” and Robert Downey Jr. had an entire Oprah segment about his preference for this particular style!
But if the “Ip Man” films are the extent of your foray into Wing Chun then the following videos may very well be your cup of kung fu tea.
So let’s take a look at some of the Wing Chun action that may have fallen under the radar of some matial arts fans.
1. Where it all Started
1981’s “The Prodigal Son” (directed/choreographed by Sammo Hung and starring Yuen Biao) has long been considered the definitive Wing Chun film.
Here Lam Ching Ying fends off a menacing Frankie Chan and the result is two minutes of blistering hand-to-hand madness. I can only imagine how long it took to choreograph and capture every movement so precisely.
2. Wing Chun Versus Hung Gar
Not yet released for western audiences, Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” is a poetical, romantic envisioning of Ip Man’s life story. It’s less a Wing Chun film as it incorporates characters who are proficient in a variety of styles.
This time around, Tony Leung steps into the shoes of the titular Ip Man and, in this particular scene, is paired off against a Hung Gar master played by Lau Ga Yung.
3. The Mother of Wing Chun
In 2010, a film centered on Yim Wing Chun herself was made. “Kung Fu Wing Chun” stars martial arts newcomer, Bai Jing, and Shaw Brothers icon, Kara Hui, as a teacher/student duo.
Though the film is heavy on the humour, it’s marred by the fact that Bai Jing was tragically murdered shortly after the film’s release.
While wires are used to exaggerate a number of the fight scenes, the finale sees Yim Wing Chun adapting to a claustrophobic fight environment while facing Collin Chou’s Eagle’s Claw master.
This clip is spoiler heavy, so please be warned!
4. Father and Son
In the tv series, “Wing Chun” (original title, I know), Sammo Hung costars with his real life son, Sammy Hung.
While the series is heavy on the drama, it features a great mixture of new talent and established martial arts legends including Philip Ng and Yuen Biao.
Here Sammy takes on Nicholas Tse, a real life Wing Chun practitioner, and while the choreography is less rapid fire than usual, the vicious locks, blocks and blows are all present.
5. Train Hard
If “The Prodigal Son” is Sammo’s definitive Wing Chun film then “Warriors Two” is him getting warmed up.
As well as his trademark fight scenes, the film focuses on some of the philosophy behind Wing Chun. The training sequences are remarkably detailed and even include an early usage of Wing Chun’s traditional long pole.
6. Mature Martial Arts
Shortly after Donnie Yen’s Ip Man portrayal, we were given a younger version of the character in the form of “Ip Man: The Legend is Born.”
Well, recently released in Hong Kong, “Ip Man: The Final Fight” tells the story of the Grandmaster’s twilight years.
Older he may be (with Anthony Wong in the role this time around), but the crisp movement and frenetic power of Wing Chun isn’t lost at all here.
American readers can catch this via Video On Demand come August 20th, with a DVD release coming shortly after!
7. Ti Lung’s Sticky Hands!
From the most recent Wing Chun film to one of the earliest examples of it being captured on film.
Those familiar with Wing Chun’s “sticky hands” technique (Chi Sau) will be able to recognize it here as real life practitioner and Shaw Brothers leading man, Ti Lung, uses it in this brief encounter found in 1977’s “Inheritor of Kung Fu.”
So, as you can see, Wing Chun has been a part of kung fu cinema for quite some time. But what about you? Are you tired of the recent influx of Wing Chun films or can you not wait to see the next chapter of Ip Man’s life on film? Drop us a comment and let us know!